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Frontal shot of a slice of delectable vegan carrot cake topped with vegan cream cheese icing.
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5 from 1 vote

The Best Vegan Carrot Cake

This vegan carrot cake recipe comes together in one bowl that is bursting with flavor! The frosting is made up entirely of pantry staples you probably already have on hand. You won't miss the cream cheese in this frosting at all, I promise.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Servings: 12 slices


  • 9x13" glass baking pan
  • large mixing bowl
  • medium mixing bowl
  • Spatula or wooden spoon
  • Stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment


Carrot Cake

  • 195 grams (~ 1 cup) brown sugar packed
  • 130 grams (~⅔ cup) canola oil
  • 200 grams (~ 1 cup) applesauce unsweetened
  • 295 grams (~ 2 cups) shredded carrot
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 310 grams (~2 ½ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon apple pie spice

Tangy Buttercream Frosting

  • 340 grams (~3 cups) powdered sugar sifted
  • 55 grams (~¼ cup) plant-based butter
  • 140 grams (~¾ cup) vegetable shortening non-hydrogenated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons nondairy milk optional, if needed


To Prepare The Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°
  • Prepare the baking sheet by coating with either vegan butter or nonstick cooking spray, set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, canola oil, applesauce, shredded carrot, and vanilla. Stir until well combined.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, and apple pie spice.
  • In several smaller batches, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing each time until the dry ingredients are just combined. Do not overmix!
  • When all ingredients are incorporated, pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.

To Prepare Frosting

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add shortening, vegan butter, and vanilla extract. Cream the butter and shortening until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar while beating the mixture at a low speed.
  • Once fully mixed, slowly increase the speed and add the lemon juice and white vinegar, mixing until well combined.
  • If the frosting feels too stiff, add non-dairy milk one tablespoon at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition. You might not need both tablespoons.